Sutton Bridge Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Lincolnshire

The first chapel (1814) pre-dated the building of the bridge in what was then known as Sutton Wash. It was replaced in 1836 with a new building on the same site (by now Bridge Road) having 400 sittings. An Anti-Sectarian Free School commenced on chapel premises in 1848 with Mr Narracott as master.
By 1851 a majority of members had aligned with Reformers after much discord including the banning of Wesleyan preachers. Expulsion from both the Society and Wisbech Circuit followed their refusal to withdraw a preaching invitation to the Rev Samuel Dunn, controversial co-founder of the Reform Movement and editor of the Wesley Banner. Notwithstanding the efforts of Superintendent Minister William Dalby – including tearing down advertising posters from the porch and windows of the chapel – Mr Dunn did preach, and to a packed house. Although expelled, the trustees, heavily in favour of Reform, retained legal possession of the building, effectively ejecting the Wesleyans and re-naming it the Wesleyan Reform Church.
For the next fourteen years the Wesleyans met in the day school on Bridge Road where the mistress, Jane Starling, was Society steward. A new Wesleyan Trust established in 1865 reclaimed the chapel, but not such a coup really as Reformers had already moved to their new (Free Methodist) building. A few months later, after preaching here, the Rev Thomas Baines (Superintendent) was fatally injured when his pony stumbled, causing him to be violently thrown from the trap. The remainder of that century saw large congregations, regardless of scandal and a criminal trial.
At the 1933 anniversary James Blindell MP gave a stirring address lauding the nascent union of the three Methodist strands in the village. The chapel closed in 1935; members relocated to the ex-Primitive on it becoming the sole Methodist church in Sutton Bridge. The building was then used variously as Assembly Rooms, a Catholic church, and commercial premises until its demolition.

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